Formula 1 Racing

Sauber apologise to drivers after botched pit stop leads to fine · F1 · RaceFans

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The Sauber team apologised to their drivers after suffering more problems during their pit stops in today’s Australian Grand Prix.

Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu had pit stops ruined by slow wheel changes due to problems with wheel nuts during the first two races of the season. Sauber put fixes in place for this weekend’s race in Melbourne but saw no end to their difficulties.

“First of all, we need to apologise to our drivers, especially to Valtteri, who in the first part of the race showed he could match the top 10 drivers and was clearly fighting for a points finish, thanks to a good start and strong pace,” said team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi.

“As we said before the race, we had implemented mitigation measures for our pit stop issue, something that has improved the situation but, as we have seen, not completely solved the problem.”

The cause of Bottas’ problem was not identical to previous cases, he said. “What happened to Valtteri is a slightly different, but linked, issue compared to what happened in Bahrain or Saudi Arabia, but one for which we paid a really high price and that completely ruined Valtteri’s race.”

Compounding Sauber’s frustration, the stewards fined them €5,000 (£4,300) for dropping a wheel nut into the fast lane of the pits.

“As a team, we need to take our responsibilities when these things happen,” Alunni Bravi continued. “It’s the only way we can improve.”

Bottas, who was running 10th until a 30-second pit stop dropped him to last, said the problems were “not acceptable.”

“We know we have work to do on those,” he told the official F1 channel. “It’s frustrating because I think we had good pace, good start. Should have ideally got points today with the performance we had. So it’s tough. We obviously haven’t solved the issue yet that we have so that’s what we need to keep working on.”

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